Vos' primary victory contested by man who requested bogus absentee ballots

Harry Wait, who made bogus absentee ballot requests on behalf of about 10 people, including Racine's mayor, said Tuesday night, Aug. 16 he will contest certification of the Aug. 9 primary in which Assembly Speaker Robin Vos beat challenger Adam Steen in the 63rd Assembly District.

Wait said the following in a statement to FOX6 late Tuesday:

Notice is hereby given that H.O.T. Government thru its President Harry Wait and Harry Wait as a Racine County resident challenge and contest the certification of Racine County's Elections dated August 9th, 2022 for the following reasons and seek reconciliation of the ballots:

1. Absentee ballots are not verified nor secure due to proven vulnerabilities of ease of fraud in WEC "myvote".

2. 303 same day voter registrations in State Assembly District #63.

3. Bloated statewide voter registration rolls - Over 7 million W'isconsin voter names currently on WEC voter registration rolls when only approximately 5.82 million residents reside in the state of Wisconsin with less than 4 million legally
eligible voters in our State.

4. Delays in reporting final results on the evening of August 9th concerning State Assembly District # 63 with the appearance of Algorithms in use.

Harry Wait

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Vos narrowly survived a primary challenge from an opponent endorsed by former President Donald Trump and Michael Gableman, the investigator Vos hired under pressure from Trump to look into the 2020 election. 

In the days before the election, Steen was joined on the campaign trail by Gableman. Vos ended up firing Gableman after winning the primary. Gableman's contract cost taxpayers more than $1.1 million and remains subject to five pending lawsuits.

Wait requests absentee ballots for others

Wait, trying to prove election fraud, admits to breaking election law by requesting absentee ballots for others.  Wait said he was exposing a security loophole, prompting the state to investigate him for voter fraud related to these bogus ballot requests.

Wait leads the group H.O.T (Honest, Open and Transparent) Government. He said he requested the ballots for Racine Mayor Cory Mason and several others and then showed the still-sealed envelopes to FOX6. One envelope that never arrived was for Vos.

FOX6 asked Wait how he could defend breaking the law. 

"Breaking the law to save the republic. I’ll take the penalty any day of the week," he responded.

Mason called for criminal penalties. If charged and convicted, Wait could face the possibility of $10,000 in fines and up to 3 ½ years in jail.

"I think what Harry Wait has done is stolen a ballot, and he should face the criminal consequences of that," said Mason. "You don’t get to rob a bank and then say you’re immune from robbing the bank because I showed everybody how terrible it was that I robbed a bank."

Wait notified the people whose ballots were requested, along with the Racine County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Christopher Schmaling admitted Wait asked if the sheriff would come immediately to arrest him. "Hell, no," Schmaling responded.

He clarified later that is because criminal arrests take time. Schmaling's office said they requested the Wisconsin attorney general investigate, which is now underway.

"Sheriff Schmaling understands Wait’s passion and commitment to honest, open, and transparent government, especially as it pertains to elections; however, he never gave Wait permission or consent for Wait’s actions.  Sheriff Schmaling does not condone any violation of the law.  Instead, Sheriff Schmaling believes in holding people accountable when they violate the law," a statement from the sheriff's office stated.

Wait said he was proving the vulnerabilities in the state's MyVote Wisconsin page. He says armed with just the voter's date of birth and name and attesting he was who he said he was, he was able to get the ballots delivered to him.

To request the ballot, you have to attest you are requesting the ballot for yourself. In light of the problem, the state's official voting website now lists the laws that would be broken by fraudulently claiming otherwise. "The above address and name are mine and correct. Any person who impersonates a registered elector, poses as another person for the purpose of voting at an election, falsely procures registration or election materials, or otherwise violates the law will be referred for prosecution."

"I believe there are people who are systematically harvesting these ballots, I don’t have proof," Wait said.

Wisconsin Elections Commission calls emergency meeting

In reaction, the Wisconsin Elections Commission called an emergency meeting.

"If someone has the personal information of another individual, they could unlawfully request a ballot in their name. Just like a nefarious individual could misuse the personal information or identity of someone to commit something like a financial fraud, someone can also unlawfully use an individual’s personal information to commit election fraud," said Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator.

Wolfe said the MyVote website is not more vulnerable than paper requests, and she added there are checks and balances. 

"There are many checks in the system at both the state and the local level to prevent and detect such activity. Requesting or attempting to vote in absentee ballot in the name of another person has long been and continues to be a crime," Wolfe said.

Those checks did not stop some clerks from sending out the ballots. 

The Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator said they are reminding clerks to double-check requests like this. Wolfe added that their data can flag if someone is making multiple requests to the same address.  

She says since April, more than 4,000 people have requested an absentee ballot be sent to an address other than their residence on file. The commissioners agreed to send those people a postcard at an estimated cost of $7,500.

Sen. Ron Johnson praised Harry Wait Tuesday, Aug. 16 and said he wouldn't prosecute him for requesting ballots for others: "He’s a white hat hacker. He was trying to show a vulnerability. There was no malign intent to what he did. I appreciate what he did."